Reviews - May 2018

What They Say

“Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.”
—Hunter S. Thompson


Review Coordinator
Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., MHt:

Cynthia Lee Clark

Former Miss Chicago (Miss USA), Cynthia Lea Clark continued school, graduating from Northwestern University (multiple degreed), attended nursing school, and became a Firefighter Paramedic. After working as an actress in Chicago, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked on many television shows, such as DAYS OF OUR LIVES and STAT, while continuing her education with a Masters in Psychology and then a Doctorate of Psychology. While working on STAT, she was stalked which led her to work in Forensic Psychopathology. She has over 70 interviews with serial killers, mass murderers, etc. Today she mixes Forensics with writing and acting.  She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death Chapter of RWA, International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and the American College of Forensic Examiners International.


Aaron Paul Lazar:

Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. A bestselling Kindle author of 22 books, including three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming release, UNDER THE ICE. Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers.



THE FMAM MOSTLY MYSTERY REVIEW is the place to come to find out what to read next. Want to know what readers are saying (as opposed to critics) about the books you see around you? You’ve come to the right place! And, if you appreciate a critical review we’ll have those, too. Come in, sit down and see what’s write with the world! (Or, right in the world of write!)

New reviews will be posted on FMAM the 1st day of each month. Reviews will be kept on the FMAM website for 12 months.

New review this month from:

Aaron Lazar


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  • Title: The Scrolls of Gideon (The DeathSpeaker Codex Book 7)
    Author: Sonya Bateman
    EBook: $3.99


    I’ve read and loved all of Sonya Bateman’s books since day 1. In fact, she is one of my all-time favorite authors. Her style is so easy to read it feels absolutely effortless. The books all go down so smoothly, and I’d like to say “as smooth as a fine old whiskey,” but I don’t want to use such a hackneyed phrase, because Ms. Bateman sure avoids anything like that in her very fine writing. Her originality is stellar. Her characters grab you by the heart and won’t let go. And her humor has me chuckling out loud so often that if I’m in a room full of people I get those kinds of stares. You know what I mean.

    The Scrolls of Gideon was no exception to the previous books in this series and in all of her series (she has written over two dozen books!), bringing the anticipated thrills, danger, humor, monstrous creatures and… the unexpected. Wait ‘til you meet Bateman’s version of mermaid.

    I absolutely loved the setting of this book. Not only did we get to descend to the bottom of the sea (with such inventive methods, it’ll blow your socks off!), but we met the 400-year-old Sir Livingston Cromwell, gigantic sea monsters, and a variety of trapped souls, some of whom went down on the Nostradamus vessel.

    It’s hard to say which aspect of the book I enjoyed the most, but I think it might be the fact that just about every character and storyline from previous books in the series came into play. We got to reunite with all the beloved characters, like Grygg, Eli, Sadie, Taeral, Daoin, Cobalt and his partner, Uriskiel, and more. But best of all, we meet a surprise family member (no spoilers here!), who will become another rich addition to this sparkling cast.

    Keep ‘em coming, Ms. Bateman. We are all waiting for more!

    Very highly recommended by Aaron Paul Lazar



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  • The Walnut Tree
    Author: Charles Todd
    Publisher: William Morrow 
    Release Date: October 22, 2012, 272 Pages.
    ISBN-10: 0062236873
    ISBN-13: 978-0062236876
    Hardcover Price: $15.20
    Paperback Price: $9.10
    Kindle E-book Edition Price:  $8.99
    ASIN: B0087KA9EW

In 1914, Lady Elspeth Douglas is in Paris visiting her friend, where she becomes engaged to her friend’s brother, Alain Villard, who is leaving for the war front. War has broken out and the Germans have quickly overrun Belgium, threatening France.

It becomes clear Paris is next and Lady Elspeth heads for Calais to catch a boat home, but she's too late. An army captain, Peter Gilchrist, helps her get onto a train. She makes it back to England where she meets Bess, a member of Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, who tells her how and where to train for and become a battlefield nurse.

She has grown up under impressive privileged circumstances but against the wishes of her guardian, her cousin, Lord Kenneth, she takes on a career in nursing which was considered much beneath her social position. In order to hide her career choice, she avoids mentioning her social rank and goes as plain Elspeth Douglas.  

She experiences all the blood and gore of the battlefield as a military nurse while at the same time, she is troubled by having fallen in love with Peter while engaged to Alain. Then news comes that Alain is MIA and Peter is gravely wounded.

Elspeth is torn between the men she loves. How she must choose a way to reconcile her feelings for both men is her almost unbearable dilemma.

I found this small book (4”x7”) to be a very satisfying read. When I read “A Holiday Tale” on the cover, I girded myself for a smarmy, sticky-sweet Christmas love story. But “The Walnut Tree” is anything but smarmy and sticky-sweet. I particularly enjoyed her adventures as a nurse during World War I. I only wish that Charles Todd (the mother-and-son writing team of Charles and Caroline Todd) would have written more of Elspeth’s experiences.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy a good love story that isn’t too sugary-sweet and overly sentimental.

Virginia Lo Monaco